“LONGMONT — Eighteen foreigners from 11 different countries walked in to Twin Peaks Charter Academy on Tuesday morning — and left an hour later as U.S. citizens.
“So, do you feel different? You look like U.S. citizens,” Dana Lindauer of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services said after he administered the Oath of Allegiance. “We embrace you as a new citizen of our land and we welcome you to the American family.”
Several of the new citizens came from Mexico, and one was from Canada. Others immigrated from as far away as Cambodia, Vietnam and Iran.
Twin Peaks’ principal
B.J. Buchmann welcomed the immigrants to the school and noted the significance of what they were about to do.
“I hope you know and realize being a citizen of the U.S. is one of the most important decisions you are ever going to make,” Buchmann said.
Nii Armah Sowah, an instructor of theatre and dance at the University of Colorado at Boulder, moved to the U.S. from Ghana in 1994 and earned his master’s degree in expressive arts therapies. Circumstances in his home country and here led him to stay.
“I had to stay and pay off my grad school,” Sowah said. He moved to Colorado in 1996 and has been an instructor at CU since 1998.
Coincidentally, Sowah was honored as “Campus Global Citizen of the Year” on Tuesday evening.
Sowah considers himself a cultural ambassador who strives “to forge a better world ,” he said.
He should have become a U.S. citizen sooner, he said.
“I’ve waited too long. I want to participate more in this country,” Sowah said.
Like Sowah, Shanshan Yang first came to the U.S. for graduate school. She immigrated from China in August 2001 to study economics at Kent State University.
Through an online dating service, she met her now-husband, Ralph Shinn, and moved to Colorado in 2007. They live in Fort Collins.
When asked why she became a citizen, Yang said, “I have been here for 10 years and I really like this country.
“I’m going to stay here the rest of my life.”
Victoria Camron can be reached at 303-684-5226 or firstname.lastname@example.org.”